Places to visit in the Norfolk Broads close to Sunray
What are the best places to visit in the Norfolk Broads close to Sunray? If you feel like venturing out of Potter Heigham there are plenty of places to visit in the Norfolk Broads and surrounding areas. Here are some of our favourites.
Right next door to Potter Heigham is Hickling Broad nature reserve. It is one of the largest of the Broads and has got to be one of the best places to visit in Norfolk Broads. Criss crossed with trails you can easily spend a summer’s day wandering through his haven for birdlife. You will see crane, marsh and hen harriers, barn owls and, if you are lucky, kingfishers. It is also home to several rare species of butterfly. In the summer you can also take a watertrail boat tour through Hickling Broad.
Aylsham is an unspoilt, historic market town half an hour’s drive away from Potter Heigham. In our opinion it is one of the best places to visit in the Norfolk Broads on a day trip as it has such a variety of things to do. It is home to the Bure Valley Railway, a narrow gauge steam railway that runs trips along the 9 mile track to nearby Wroxham. It’s a fun thing to do with kids and a good day out if it’s a bit chilly as the carriages are fully enclosed and heated in winter months. The trains run from April to October and have special events running throughout the year, particulary around Christmas time. Children will also enjoy a trip to Redwings, a donkey and pony sanctuary on the outskirts of the town. This rescue centre has around 50 donkeys and ponies to pet, with quite a few little characters. Our favourites are ‘The Gangsters’, their gang of cheeky Shetland Ponies.
Aylsham is at the centre of Norfolk’s Slow Food movement so you’ll find a good selection of places to eat or buy local produce to take back to the cottage with you. There are markets on Mondays and Fridays, as well as some lovely shops. Not very healthy, but a lovely one to visit is Bon Bon’s. This traditional style sweet shop has an old fashioned wooden counter with jars of sweets on shelves behind and a beautiful range of homemade chocolates. Craft lovers can also visit Urban Clay where you can paint your own pottery workshops. They also run seasonal events like Christmas wreath making.
At the other end of the Bure Valley Railway and 10 miles to the west of Potter Heigham is Wroxham. People visit Wroxham for the boating and riverside walks around Wroxham Broad, so its best to visit on a nice day. Wroxham is the centre of boat hire in the Norfolk Broads. You can hire a boat for the day or take a trip on one of the passenger boats based there such as Broad Tours. There are plenty of options but it can get busy. If you want to try something different, you can hire a water bike from Buoyancy Bikes, which looks like a lot of fun.
For families, Wroxham Barns is a good day out. There is a junior farm with its own Guinea Pig village and other small furry or feathery friends like ponies, donkeys, goats, sheep, alpacas and running ducks. Children can build dens or walk the treetop viewing walkway and lots of other activities with the animals such as pony grooming. The Fun Park has a pirate ship and lots of other things to wear children out on like the giant jumping pillows. On a rainy day there is also a soft play centre.
Blickling Hall is a part of the Blickling Estate, a National Trust property about twenty miles away from Potter Heigham. You can reach it via Aylsham or North Walsham, or do a round trip taking in both. There’s a lot to pack in though so leave plenty of time. Blickling Hall is a beautiful Jacobean mansion which was once owned by the Boleyn family. It is a perfect example of a grand house of that time and packed full of historical features. It’s grand library houses the largest collection of historical books (over 12000) managed by the National Trust, some of them hundreds of years old. There are also 55 acres of beautiful formal gardens to explore and a further 4,500 acres of parkland, woods and farmland that you can walk or cycle using their extensive network of trails. You can hire bikes at the Hall. The Hall, gardens and grounds are open all year round.
If you want to leave the car at home, Stalham is a nice trip out. It is only 5 miles away from Potter Heigham so an easy walk or cycle ride from the cottage. Stalham is a pleasant market town right on the Broads. For those interested in the history of boating or the local area you can visit the Museum of the Broads which is open from March onwards but closes in the winter season. It hosts regular exhibitions and different events throughout the year. You can also visit the tiny Stalham Firehouse Museum. It has a small but fascintating collection of firefighter memoribilia including a horse drawn engine dating from 1881. Smaller kids love it as you can ring the bells and have your photo taken with an old fire helmet. They also provide quizes and activities for the kids to do. There is an annual vintage market at Stalham most years, usually in August.
A Day Out along the North Norfolk Coast – Beaches, Seals and Owls
You can have a wonderful day out along the North Norfolk coast exploring the beautiful beaches and the local wildlife. Scramble over the dunes at Horsey between late October and January and you will see hundreds, if not thousands, of grey and common seals that have come ashore to have their pups. There is a special viewing platform to see this very special sight. At other times of the year you can spot seals swimming off the North Norfolk coast from Blakeney Point or take a seal spotting boat trip. The stretch of coastline by Sea Palling & Wraxham has lovely sandy beaches, partly due to the off shore reefs that have been built as part of coastal defences.
A short hop from this stretch of coastland you can visit the Happisburgh Owls. This is a very special experience where you can get up close with these hand reared owls. Happisburgh Owls are not open to the public, you need to contact them to arrange a private visit.
Book Sunray Riverside Lodge
Sunray Riverside Lodge is a great base for exploring the Norfolk Broads. Located in Potter Heigham you have walking, boating and fishing on your doorstep. Some of the best places to visit in the Norfolk Broads are only a short drive away. You can book directly on the website or by sending us a message on our contact form.
Terms and conditions
25% deposit is required on booking, balance is due 4 weeks beforehand.
Sorry, no smoking.
Check in from 3:30pm & check out by 10:30am.
Weekly breaks: Fri – Fri
Weekend breaks 3 nights: Fri – Mon
Midweek breaks 4 nights: Mon – Fri
Sunray Lettings registered address: Kelly & Jonathan Thompson, Caroline, Cross End, Pebmarsh, CO9 2NU